When the third round horn sounded to signal the conclusion of bantamweight bout between Merab Dvalishvili and Ricky Simon at UFC Fight Night 128, it initially appeared that Dvalishvili had just barely survived to win a decision.
"Everyone else might have been confused - I wasn't", Simon told MMA Junkie.
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"A little controversial", he said.
Check out the fight round-by-round below. The horn sounded, seemingly sending the fight to the judges, but after Dvalishvili was unable to get up at the end of the bout, the referee waved the fight off, causing some confusion. Veteran official Marc Goddard, who helped the commission make a final ruling, explained the decision during an interview on Fox Sports 1 following the event. I just want more fights. Unfortunately, he wasn't able to inflict much damage on the ground and the pair went right back to their feet. Once Simon gathered himself, he swung for a big shot of his own, only for Dvalishvili to duck it and engage in the clinch. The round ended with another apparent win for Dvalishvili.
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A groin strike to Simon briefly paused action early in the third, but Dvalishvili was undeterred, continuing his slow march forward and bringing the fight to the cage.
As the clock reached the final minute, Dvalishvili shot for a takedown, but Simon reversed the position into a choke. After some deliberation by officials from the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board, referee Liam Kerrigan ruled that Simon had won via technical submission at the 5:00 mark of round three.
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Although the UFC debut didn't fully satisfy him, Simon said he's moving on. There was some confusion about if the fight had been stopped or the time ran out, but the referee ruled that Dvalishvili was in fact out and ruled Simon the victor by TKO. He didn't land a contract that night but instead won back-to-back fights under the Legacy Fighting Alliance banner which earned him a coveted spot on a UFC fight card.